Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I'm Not Stressed. You're Stressed

I keep waiting for the point in this process - this sell your house, move halfway across the country, to buy a house, start a new job, hope the boy isn't too worried or sad about all of it, start life over process - when I exhale and enjoy the process.  Life is all about the journey.  Right?

This week was not that week.  We got the pictures of the house done this morning for the listing.  The house wasn't perfectly ready, but that's ok.  It is ok, right?  I'm a list maker, a planner with backup plans for my backup plans.  There are still many steps in this process, and even as it becomes when "when" than "if" there are too many unknowns for my taste right now.

I keep telling myself this is where the rubber hits the road in Christian life.  What's the point if there's not peace and joy even in these stressful parts of the journey?  It's not about my faith, it's about His faithfulness.  It's tough sometimes.

But.  There's a lot of life on this side of the move.  There's beautiful weather - even if half of the days are rainy.  There's the boy playing in the neighborhood with kids.  Sitting in the front yard with Bloo because she loves to be there watching our current little part of the world.  The end of the school year.  The coming end of the dance year.  Time with friends before the move.  So much to enjoy.  

There's a song lyric on Amanda Cook's new album that is so simple, but means so much.  "This I know.  Of this I'm sure.  That You hold, my whole world." 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Rest of the Story 2

As I mentioned, Tuesday we met with our realtor to put our house on the market.  That meeting went well!  Now we're working on getting the house "picture" ready.  Whew.  Going all Marie Kondo around this place!  Ha!

On Thursday and Friday, a company Ching had applied to flew her down to Dallas to do an extended interview - get to know each other.  I was so nervous Thursday.  Lots of thoughts and prayers about faith, and having any, and that it's not faith once you know the outcome.  But mostly I felt things would work out. 

And they did.  Friday they worked out a start date, which she and I had discussed.  She'll be down there on the 28th of this month.  That'll give her time to house hunt while Noah and I finish up things here.  It'll be hard on Noah, but hopefully excitement will win over worry. 

So much to do.  Listing pictures, small and medium sized repairs.  Applying for mortgage for a new house.  Finding a new house.  Packing.  And on and on.  I know so many of you are experts at all this stuff!!  I joked when I got my Virginia teacher license I'd end up trading it in for a Texas one.  Gotta start that application process soon. 

So it's really happening.  Going home. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Rest of the Story

I posted on facebook this morning - because it so awesomely reminded me - that it was ten years ago today I got the keys to our house.  Crazy.

We'd been in Northern Virginia for two years and houses were cheap enough and we thought it made sense to buy.  We didn't really intend to stay for ten years. 

Ching wasn't even in town.  She was down south doing Army officer stuff.  That ended up being a weird series of events that ended up with her finally getting out of the Army, although not quite the way she intended.  I did the entire move - even having to sign all the paperwork for her, packing and moving all the stuff, plus our dear Ramen and Silly and Little Man.  Then I got to unpack it all. 

We had a LOT less stuff then!

Just over a year later, we had Noah. 

Fast forward to the past almost ten months, and her finally getting out of defense contractor work - again just not in the way she intended. 

As part of this crazy time in our lives, and it seeming all the doors were closing on reasons for us to be here, we had scheduled an appointment with a realtor for today.  We had no idea it was ten years to the day later. 

Our house is going on the market.  We're moving back to Texas, the Dallas area. 

God has been so amazing this year.  He's taking us down a path we could never have anticipated.  It hasn't been easy, but it's been so good. 

The other day I decided it felt like being at an amusement park - waiting and waiting and waiting in the long snaking lines to get on a roller-coaster - hot, tired, bored but excited, nervous.  And now we're just getting into the seats. 

We know God is going before us, and making straight the path.  And if the setup has been this crazy - then what's on the other side should be amazing. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Thoughts on Standardized Testing

I was a student in Texas in the 70s and 80s.  I remember when testing became a thing. I understand why it became a thing - kids graduating high school with no reading or math abilities - AND no one being held accountable.  Yes, it sucks we couldn't trust teachers, or parents, or principals, or anyone else to actually make sure kids were learning what they were supposed to be learning.

Then, I suppose understandably, testing took over.  There became a loop of matching test questions and outcomes to curriculum and so on.

In the 90s and 00's, I worked various jobs for the testing industry.  I saw how test questions were tested, how passing standards were set.  I spent at 8-10 years scoring essays of all grades.  (I also saw a real decline in writing abilities over that time.)

So now we all complain about the stress, and the teaching to the test, and the teaching of testing strategies. 

But what if we didn't?  What if we just stopped stressing about the test?  What if we didn't teach to the test? What if we didn't teach test taking strategies?

What if - we simply never put the curriculum standards (the actual standard by number) in the classroom?  What if we never talked about the test with the students? 

What if we simply taught the students what the curriculum says is appropriate for age and grade level, gave them testing assessments along the way that were similar enough to "THE TEST" - and when the time came, just gave them the test. 

I know, I know.  It's all about the results, and the money - all the money - so much money - tied to those results. 

But what if we just left the kids out of all of that part of it and just let them be students, learning cool stuff in school? 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What he remembers

Every day when Noah gets in the car after summer school, I ask how his day was.  First, he always tells me what he ate.  Of course.  Then I ask if they did math, how did that go (not well).  What did they read - he doesn't remember.

The other day there was a funny exception to his not remembering what they read.  I wish I knew exactly what the lesson was.  There was reading and some video.

He told me all about Einstein and when they took out his brain to study it.  He asked if that was real.  How did they get his brain out.  He also vaguely remembered something about cars traveling. 

At least something got his attention! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Long standing jokes with Noah

I can't believe our boy is going to be 8 in a few days.  It's getting harder to remember life before him.  (At my age that's not really surprising!) 

I started playing with his little feet while Ching was still pregnant.  She'd be asleep, I'd have insomnia, and Noah would be moving around - I assumed it was his feet.  Somewhere along the way I started joking with him at bedtime that I was going to eat his feeties.  I'd joke how delicious they looked, that I might put some bbq sauce on them.  He always squeals and says NO, Don't Eat The Feeties.  We still do this some nights.

The other thing we've done for a few years is joke that whenever he has the hiccups it's because he's growing.  Every time he gets them I tell him to stop growing. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Traveling Man

As school was ending, Noah was telling his teachers about his upcoming trip to Colorado.  His special ed teacher has worked with him since kindergarten and loves to hear about his travels.  We got to talking about how many places he's been to.  Here's the list - not really in any order:

Texas - Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and Galveston.  Some multiple times to visit family.
Las Vegas, NV  He was too young to remember this one, too.  Now he wants to go again.
Nashville, TN  Twice. Ching and I wanted to go, it's the most like Texas without flying.
Ocean City, MD  I think 3 times, he likes the beach there.
Atlantic City, NJ  He was too young to remember his first beach.  Second time he was scared of the aquarium.
Warren, NJ  to visit family
Philadelphia, PA
NYC, NY.  His idea - he loved taking the train there and everything about it.
West Virginia - we took a scenic train ride that was cool.
Denver and Breckenridge, CO.  So happy he really enjoyed the mountains!

That's a lot in seven years!  He loves it.  Before we even left Denver last week he was asking where we're going next!